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Plantar Fasciitis - Symptoms, Causes & Treatment Options

plantar fasciitis treatment

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition characterized by inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. The condition typically manifests as stabbing pain in the heel, especially noticeable during the first steps in the morning or after prolonged periods of rest. While plantar fasciitis primarily affects runners, individuals who are overweight, wear improper footwear, or have high foot arches are also at risk.

Primary Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:

  • Sharp or stabbing pain in the heel

  • Pain typically concentrated near the underside of the heel

  • Increased discomfort during the initial steps after waking up or after long periods of rest

  • Tenderness and stiffness around the heel area

  • Difficulty walking or standing, especially after rest

  • Symptoms may persist or worsen without proper treatment

Causes and Risk Factors of Plantar Fasciitis

Here are the causes and risk factors of plantar fasciitis:

  • Repetitive Strain: Engaging in activities that involve repetitive stress or strain on the foot, such as running or dancing.

  • Overuse: Excessive strain on the plantar fascia due to prolonged standing, walking, or physical activities.

  • Improper Footwear: Wearing shoes with inadequate arch support or insufficient cushioning.

  • Foot Structure: High arches or flat feet can contribute to increased stress on the plantar fascia.

  • Weight Gain or Obesity: Increased body weight can exert additional pressure on the feet and heels.

  • Occupational Factors: Jobs or activities that require prolonged standing or walking may increase the risk.

  • Age: Plantar fasciitis is more common in middle-aged individuals, though it can affect people of all ages.

  • Biomechanical Issues: Abnormal foot mechanics or gait abnormalities can predispose someone to this condition.

Plantar Fasciitis Diagnosis by Medical Professionals

Doctors diagnose plantar fasciitis through:

  • ​​Physical Examination: The doctor conducts a thorough examination of the foot, assessing areas of tenderness and pain, especially around the heel and arch.

  • Discussion of Symptoms: Detailed discussion with the patient about their symptoms, including the nature, duration, and triggers of the pain.

  • Medical History Review: Reviewing the patient's medical history to identify any factors contributing to the condition.

  • Diagnostic Tests: In some cases, X-rays may be conducted to rule out other causes of heel pain or to identify heel spurs, though plantar fasciitis itself often doesn't show up on X-rays.

  • Ultrasound or MRI: In certain instances, ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans might be recommended to visualize the plantar fascia and confirm the diagnosis, ruling out other issues if necessary.

Plantar Fasciitis Treatments Approach

Treatment options for plantar fasciitis encompass various approaches aimed at alleviating pain, reducing inflammation, and promoting healing. Here are some common treatments and how they work:

  1. Chiropractic Care: Chiropractors might perform adjustments and soft tissue techniques to improve foot biomechanics, reduce joint restrictions, and alleviate tension in the plantar fascia.

  2. Rest and Activity Modification: Resting the affected foot and reducing activities that exacerbate symptoms help in minimizing strain on the plantar fascia. It allows the tissue to heal by reducing stress on the inflamed area.

  3. Ice Application: Applying ice to the heel area helps in reducing inflammation and alleviating pain. It's typically recommended for short durations, multiple times a day, to avoid skin damage.

  4. Stretching and Exercise: Specific stretching exercises, especially targeting the calf muscles and Achilles tendon, can alleviate tension on the plantar fascia. Strengthening exercises may also be prescribed to improve foot and lower limb stability.

  5. Orthotic Inserts or Shoe Modifications: Custom-made or over-the-counter shoe inserts (orthotics) can provide arch support and cushioning, redistributing pressure on the foot and reducing strain on the plantar fascia.

  6. Night Splints: Night splints are devices worn while sleeping to maintain a gentle stretch on the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon. They help prevent tightening of these tissues overnight, reducing morning pain.

  7. Physical Therapy: Physiotherapy involves various techniques such as ultrasound, massage, and exercises to reduce inflammation, improve flexibility, and strengthen the foot muscles.

  8. Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroid injections may be prescribed to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.

  9. Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT): This procedure involves delivering shock waves to the affected area, stimulating healing and reducing pain by breaking down scar tissue.

Each treatment method targets different aspects of plantar fasciitis, such as reducing inflammation, stretching tight tissues, improving foot mechanics, or promoting healing. 

A combination of these approaches, tailored to an individual's specific condition, often yields the most effective results in managing and alleviating symptoms of plantar fasciitis. 

Consulting a healthcare professional helps determine the most suitable treatment plan based on the severity and duration of the condition.

Can Plantar Fasciitis Be Cured Without Treatment?

Without treatment, plantar fasciitis symptoms can worsen and potentially lead to chronic heel pain or foot complications. It's crucial to seek timely intervention to prevent long-term issues.

Plantar Fasciitis Recovery Period

Recovery time for plantar fasciitis patiences are varies depends on: 

  • Individual: The recovery period can vary widely among individuals based on the severity of the condition, adherence to treatment, and overall health.

  • Several Months: Typically, recovery from plantar fasciitis takes several months with proper and consistent treatment.

  • Early Intervention Helps: Timely intervention and adhering to prescribed treatments can expedite recovery.

  • Rest and Compliance: Adequate rest and strict compliance with treatment plans, including exercises and therapies, play a crucial role in recovery.

  • Patience is Key: Patience is necessary, as improvement may be gradual, and it might take time to notice significant relief from symptoms.

  • Continued Management: Even after symptoms diminish, ongoing management and preventive measures, such as proper footwear and stretching, are often recommended to prevent recurrence.

Plantar Fasciitis Complications and Takeaway

Without proper care, plantar fasciitis can lead to chronic heel pain or foot issues, emphasizing the importance of timely intervention and adherence to treatment plans.

Understanding the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment options for plantar fasciitis is essential for effective management and recovery. Seeking professional medical advice is recommended for individuals experiencing persistent heel pain to ensure proper care and minimize potential complications.

Experience relief from plantar fasciitis discomfort by booking a consultation with Bliss Chiropractic and Physiotherapy Centre today for holistic approach, innovative techniques, and patient-centric care, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of your condition and tailored solutions for effective relief.


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